Exercise alone will not help you achieve your fitness goal. Diet and nutrition play a very central role in health and fitness. This article discusses how to use your nutrition to get what you want.
Whether it is fat loss or muscle gain, nutrition plays a very important role in both. One only needs to have a diet that will help in achieving their fitness goal e.g. eating lots of carbohydrates in a fat loss program will be more or less pointless and not taking in enough calories for a mass gaining program will not help either. Keep reading to find out how to achieve your fitness goals.
Let’s start with understanding the most important part of nutrition – CALORIES. Till a few years back, it was said that in order to lose weight you need less calories and to gain weight you need to increase calories. Strictly speaking, it is true. You will gain weight (which may be fat or muscle) if you eat more and you will lose weight (again – fat or muscle). But is that really what your aim is? Losing and gaining weight? If you had a six pack and weighed 80 kg, would you be bothered with the weight? The majority answer would be NO. Which means that we should be concentrating on fat and muscle instead of weight. Different calories play different roles in our body. We know that the three macro nutrients are carbohydrates, fats and proteins and the micro nutrients are vitamins and minerals. 1 gram of fats is 9 calories and 1 gram of carbohydrates and proteins is 4 calories. However, there are different categories of these macro nutrients and they are outlined below.
Carbohydrates: Simple, Complex, Complex-complex (fibrous), High GI, Low GI. Concentrate on complex, fibrous and low GI carbs for most of the day.
Fats: Saturated, Unsaturated (Mono-unsaturated, Poly-unsaturated) and Trans-fats. Try an avoid Trans and saturated fats.
Proteins: Animal and plant proteins. Plant proteins and considered to be incomplete but can be combined with carbs to give complete proteins. Take fast absorbing proteins post workout.
(Details of each macro nutrient are outside the scope of this article, but keep checking back)
In order to lose fat and gain muscle we need the right kind of carbs, fats and proteins in the right amounts and at the right time. You may have heard that you cannot gain muscle mass and lose fat at the same time. Reason being that the body can either be a catabolic (break down) or an anabolic (build new) state. I would like to make it clear that is not really the case. The fact is that one state is more dominant that the other, but both are always active. So if your overall system is in a catabolic state (i.e. breaking down of molecules) you can eat to lose fat but at the same time remember that you are still making new molecules, but at a slower rate. So you can still build some muscle and get toned up. If your aim is to become Jay Cutler or Mr. Coleman, then this probably wouldn’t work but if you are just a person who wants to look good and get rid of all the jiggley bits then this is what you need to do.
Eat 5 – 7 small meals throughout the day (i.e. approximately every 3 hours). Don’t fill yourself up. Drink at least 10 – 12 glasses of water everyday. Your last meal should be 2 – 3 hours before going to bed.
Breakfast: Healthy fats, Proteins, Low GI carbs and Fiber Other snacks and lunch: Low or no carbs, Proteins, Fats, Fiber Pre-workout: Low GI carbs, Proteins and Fats Post-workout: High and Low GI carbs, Proteins Dinner (if not the same as Post-workout): Only proteins
(As far as the micro-nutrients go, fruits, vegetables and/or vitamin supplements (optional) should be enough.)
This approach will help you get rid of extra fat and also help you get toned up and defined. Please note that your workout routine should be designed for you to achieve this goal.
To learn about a number of different workout routines, please visit my blog at http://burnfatnbuildmuscle.blogspot.com/
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